March 2 – 9:30 a.m. ET House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Administration holding VA budget hearing, 2359 Rayburn House Office Building.

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March 3 – 11:00 a.m. ET Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs holding VA budget hearing, 124 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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Dr. Spagnolo

Chairperson and Distinguished Members of the Commission on Care:

Thank you for the opportunity to address your Commission this morning.

I am here as a practicing physician who has spent 45 years with the VA, and as the President of the National Association of Veteran Administration Physicians and Dentists usually referred to as NAVAPD.  

NAVAPD is the official national organization of VA physicians and dentists who proudly serve our nation's veterans.  Our nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving the quality of patient care in the VA health care system and ensuring the doctor-patient relationship is maintained and strengthened. In fact, our bylaws state that “NAVAPD has as its highest priority the preservation and strengthening of the VA Health Care Delivery System so that it is able at all times to give veterans quality medical care equal to or better than can be obtained elsewhere in our society.”  I appear today in pursuit of that purpose. 

Read entire statement here:  Commission – Spagnolo formal testimony January 21, 2016

US Department of Veteran Affairs

NAVAPD is extremely happy to observe that a physician, Adam M. Robinson, Jr., M.D., has been named the new Director of the VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS).  One of NAVAPD’s most consistent messages to the VA leadership has been that there needs to once again be physicians in charge of VA medical centers and VA health care systems.  At one time, virtually all medical center directors were physicians but this has dropped to a mere handful across the system. 

NAVAPD President Samuel Spagnolo, M.D., has reminded VA leadership and Congress of this fact, and how it demonstrates the disenfranchisement of physicians and dentists in the VA.  It has been NAVAPD’s belief that physicians can contribute to improving the operations of the VA, if their voices are heard.  Physician directors would also better understand the impact of impediments placed on physicians in the current environment.

NAVAPD congratulates Dr. Robinson and applauds this appointment in hopes that it represents a recognition that naming more physicians as Directors of VA facilities and Health Care Systems will serve the Veterans and the VA well.  The official press release regarding the appointment follows.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Adam M. Robinson, Jr., M.D. as the new director of the VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS).  Dr. Robinson will oversee delivery of health care to more than 55,000 Veterans and an operating budget over $550 million. 

“We are excited to bring Dr. Robinson on board as the new director of VAMHCS,” said Joseph Williams, Jr., Acting Network Director, Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 5.  “His sound leadership qualities and proven experience will be valuable assets for the health care facilities, community clinics, employees and volunteers, and most importantly, for the Veterans we are honored to serve.  We anticipate he will assume his new role as head of the health care system within the next 45 to 60 days to begin his official appointment.”

Robinson joined VA in February of 2014 as the Chief of Staff for the VAMHCS.  Prior to his appointment with VA he served a distinguished 37 years in the United States Navy, most notably holding the position as the 36th Surgeon General of the United States Navy when he retired in 2011.  As the Surgeon General, he served as the principle TriCare Health Plan representative for active duty sailors and marines, their families, and Navy and Marine Corps retirees and their families, numbering more than 2.5 million people.  He led a team of 63,000 Navy Medicine personnel in over 220 health care facilities located worldwide with an annual budget of $3.5 billion.  This included three tertiary care medical centers located in geographically diverse part of the United States that provided the single largest source of residency trained health care providers for the Navy medical department. 

Robinson earned his medical doctorate degree from Indiana University School of Medicine through the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program.  He was commissioned in the Navy following completion of his surgical internship at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield.  Robinson also holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fl.  After retiring from the Navy as a Vice Admiral, Robinson served as medical director and staff physician of Conmed Healthcare Management in Montgomery County, MD.

The author of numerous publications, Robinson holds fellowships in the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery.  He is a member of the Le Societe Internationale de Chirurgie, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, and the National Business School Scholastic Society, Beta Gamma Sigma.  He is also a Certified Physician Executive from the American College of Physician Executives.

During his distinguished military career, Robinson earned numerous service awards, including two Distinguished Service Medals, two Legion of Merit awards, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, three Meritorious Service Medals, a Navy Commendation Medal, a Joint Achievement Medal, a Navy Achievement Medal, and various service and campaign awards.

With more than 3,000 staff, VAMHCS consists of the Baltimore and Perry Point VA Medical Centers and the Loch Raven VA Community Living & Rehabilitation Center..  VAMHCS also has six community based outpatient clinics located   in Cambridge, Fort Howard, Fort Meade, Glen Burnie, Loch Raven and Pocomoke City.  In addition to health care services for Veterans, VAMHCS has a large research program with a total expenditure for research projects amounting to approximately $28.8 million in FY 2013.